Nourishment for the dead

It will become increasingly clear to us how this earthly life is connected with spiritual life. We rely on nature, which is on a lower level than we are, for our nourishment. For some time after death, the dead derive their nourishment from the ideas and the unconscious emotions that we here on earth take into sleep with us. Those who have died perceive a tremendous difference between people who in their waking life are filled only with materialistic feelings and ideas and also take them into sleep, and others who are wholly filled with spiritual ideas while awake and who continue to be filled with them in sleep. 

The two types of people are as different in their effect on the dead as a barren region where no food can grow, where people would starve, and a fruitful area that offers nourishment in abundance. For many years after death, the dead draw a vitality from the souls sleeping here on earth filled with spiritual content, a vitality that is similar, only transposed into the spiritual realm, to what we draw in our physical life from the beings of the kingdoms of nature below us. We literally turn ourselves into fruitful pastures for the dead when we fill ourselves with the ideas of spiritual science. And we turn ourselves into barren ground and starve the dead if we take only materialistic ideas and attitudes into sleep.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: Lecture Three: Awakening Spiritual Thoughts – Basel, May 5, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on November 29, 2016

Advertisement

Difference between male and female

I should like to remind you of something I have often pointed out with regard to the difference between male and female, pointing out the fact that to some extent the female element — not the single individual woman but rather “womanhood” — has not entirely descended to the physical plane, whereas the man — again not a single individuality, not man in a particular incarnation but “manhood” — has crossed the line and descended lower. As a result true humanity lies between man and woman; and it is for this reason that a human being also changes sex in different incarnations.

But it is already the case that the woman, as such, because of the different formation of her brain and the different way in which she can use it, is able to grasp spiritual ideas with greater facility. By contrast the man because of his external physical corporeality is much better adapted to think himself into materialism, because, if we wish to express the matter crudely, his brain is harder. The female brain is softer, not so stubborn, that is to say in general — I am not referring to individual personalities. In the case of individual personalities there is no need to flatter oneself, for many truly obstinate heads sit on many a female body — to say nothing of the reverse! But on the whole, it is true that it is easier to make use of a female brain if one is to understand something exceptional, as long as the will to do so is also present. It is for this reason that the evangelist [Mark] after the Mystery of Golgotha allows women to appear first.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 139 – The Gospel of St. Mark: Lecture 10 – Basel, September 24, 1912  

Whether we absorb spiritual concepts or reject them determines our environment on the other side of the threshold

When man under the present conditions of evolution passes through the portal of death, he takes with him the conditions of consciousness that he has created for himself between birth and death. The person who has occupied himself under present circumstances exclusively with materialistic ideas, concepts, and sense impressions of the material, of the sense world, condemns himself after death to live in an environment in which only concepts defined during bodily life have bearing.

The human being who has absorbed spiritual ideas enters the spiritual world legitimately, but one who has rejected spiritual ideas is forced to remain in a certain sense within earthly conditions until he — and this may endure for a long time — has learned there to absorb enough spiritual concepts that he can be carried by them into the spiritual world. Whether we absorb spiritual concepts or reject them therefore determines our environment on the other side of the threshold. Many of those souls — and this must be said with compassion — who have rejected or were hindered from absorbing spiritual concepts here in life are still wandering about on earth and, though dead, remain bound to the earthly sphere.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric – X – Individual Spirit Beings and the Undivided Foundation of the World: Part 1 – St. Gallen – 18th November 1917

Translated by Margaret Ingram deRis & Alice Wulsin

Previously posted on February 17, 2016

Nourishment for the dead

It will become increasingly clear to us how this earthly life is connected with spiritual life. We rely on nature, which is on a lower level than we are, for our nourishment. For some time after death, the dead derive their nourishment from the ideas and the unconscious emotions that we here on earth take into sleep with us. Those who have died perceive a tremendous difference between people who in their waking life are filled only with materialistic feelings and ideas and also take them into sleep, and others who are wholly filled with spiritual ideas while awake and who continue to be filled with them in sleep.

The two types of people are as different in their effect on the dead as a barren region where no food can grow, where people would starve, and a fruitful area that offers nourishment in abundance. For many years after death, the dead draw a vitality from the souls sleeping here on earth filled with spiritual content, a vitality that is similar, only transposed into the spiritual realm, to what we draw in our physical life from the beings of the kingdoms of nature below us. We literally turn ourselves into fruitful pastures for the dead when we fill ourselves with the ideas of spiritual science. And we turn ourselves into barren ground and starve the dead if we take only materialistic ideas and attitudes into sleep.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: Lecture Three: Awakening Spiritual Thoughts – Basel, May 5, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

For the truly practical person it is not important what the contents of the thoughts are, but the activity they bring about

It is not the theories that have significance, but the habits of thought. For the truly practical person it is not important what the contents of the thoughts are, but the activity they bring about. That is what it is all about. It does not matter whether someone is an idealist, but what is important in life is that one’s thoughts are fruitful, that they stimulate life and bring progress.

It must be kept in mind that Spiritual Science does not want to have any part in one or the other dogma or belief system. It is of no importance that someone has many spiritual theories, but that these ideas are fruitful when applied to life. When someone declares that they are not materialistic and believe in the force of life, even in the spirit, but at the same time treat the human being like a gigantic test tube when considering nutritional matters, his worldview cannot bear fruit. Spiritual Science can only bring adequate answers to concrete questions when it is able to penetrate the details – and it is indeed able to shed light on nutritional as well as health issues.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, December 17, 1908 (p. 172-173)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 2, 2014